Discovering Austria - The Murau-Murtal Holiday Region
The article topic Austrian Lifestyle
13 Feb 2019
Are you looking for a deeply local Austrian experience in an off-the-beaten-track nature paradise? Do you find other ski resorts too hectic, overpriced and overcrowded with international tourists ? Then the Holiday Region Murau-Murtal could be right up on your street and provide you with the perfect relaxing holiday to properly switch off. Located within the Austrian state of Styria and set in some incredibly beautiful and unspoilt nature, this region is full of surprises and you will find here extremely diverse landscapes from majestic mountain peaks, to flowery meadows, deep forests and moorland-like sceneries. Learn more about the highlights of this scenic wonderland and holiday attractions it offers.
- Ski till your drop in the 11 resorts of the Mur-Mürz Ski Area
Little known outside of Austria, the ski terrains of the Murau include some great mid-sized ski resorts now all included in a single ski pass, the Mur-Mürz Top Ski Pass. In total, you have access to 11 ski areas boasting together over 225km of slopes and ski routes and 76 cable cars. They are just a short drive from each other, so you can easily base yourself in the centre of the region and ski every day in a completely different resort. The largest are the Turracher Hohe (42km of pistes), the Kreischberg (42km of pistes), the Lachtal (35km of pistes) and the Grebenzen (25km of pistes). They offer not just different type of slopes, but also a changing scenery and vibe, from the high alpine Lachtal with pistes starting from 2,222m above sea level to the sporty Stuhleck with its 4 snow parks or the dreamy Grebenzen in the heart of the Zirbitzkogel Natural Park. There is something for everyone and resort-hopping between these ski centres makes for an unforgettable snow-week.
2. Get lost hiking or snow-shoeing in the natural parks and landscapes
The Murau is a really unique region thanks to its natural diversity which is a joy to explore whether you prefer to do on your cross-country skis or snow-shoe in winter or hiking and mountain biking in summer. One of the main attractions in the region is certainly the Zirbitzkogel Natural Park, a pristine and varied nature wonderland nestled between the Zirbitzkogel (2,296m) and the Grebenzen (1,892m) mountains. Another hikers’ insider tip is the Krakau region between the Sölk Pass and the Preber. You will find here over 150 km of hiking trails from 1,100m to 2,740m above sea level offering an excellent combination of relaxing flatter walks and more demanding mountain circuits. On the way, you can stop at the Günster waterfall, the highest waterfall in Styria.
3. Discover old castles, monasteries and learn about beer making
But the Murau region is not just about the outdoors and you can do a variety of trips to learn about the cultural heritage and traditions of the region. The Murau Castle towering above the town of Murau, long time under the rule of the Liechtensteins and currently owned by the Schwarzenberg dynasty, with its dungeon, picture gallery and chapel provides a vivid insight into the life of the dynasties over the centuries. Equally rewarding is a guided visit of the Abbey of the Sankt Lambrecht where you can learn about the more than 900 years history of the benedictine monastery. The tour includes a visit to the Prelate's Hall, the Folklore Collection and the Bird Museum. Too much culture? Then try the interactive beer experience, the "Brewery of the Senses” set up in the brewery in Murau with olfactory und auditory stations and the chance to sample some Murau beer specialities at the end of the tour.
4. Get in touch with local traditions at the Cattle Drive in Hochegg
A perfect opportunity to experience some local traditions and entertain your kids is attending the annual cattle drive parade in Hochegg, Gaal or Rachau. This festival is an event of thanksgiving by the farmers and herders who celebrate the return of healthy cattle to the stables from the pastures. Animals parade through the streets decorated in “jewellery” from mountain pines, ribbons and alpine flowers. This tradition goes back to 1746 and continues to be a widely attended happening. Between Hochegg and the Lachtal, over 450 animals are driven from the surrounding pastures providing an amazingly colourful and rather noisy performance to onlookers.
5. Treat yourself in the Aqualux Therme in Fohnsdorf
The vast Aqualux thermal spa with its 8000 m2 (!) situated in Fohnsdorf, in the heart of the Murau-Murtal, is a prime well-being destination in Austria and visitors pour in this temple of wellness year-round to enjoy the numerous pools, saunas and relaxing spaces. The certified thermal water is pumped up from almost 850 metres below the earth. The spa makes also for a great day with children thanks to its wild water fountains, wave pools and massage pools.
6. Feast on delicious organic produce
Finally, a visit to the Mural-Murtal would not be complete without mentioning its incredibly varied cuisine. Whether you prefer to shop at farmers’ markets, lunch at ski huts and mountain refuges or fine-dining restaurants, you will not be disappointed by the Styrian delicacies on offer. From original game and fish dishes, accompanied by berries or mushrooms, the filling Murtal cheese or ginger Lebkuchen, every plate is a joy and all palettes will be satisfied. Finish it off with a pint of the Murauer beer and you will surely be back next year.
The Murau-Murtal area is a great spot to purchase a dual season holiday home in the Alps. This up-and-coming area has a great potential and still largely affordable property market. Easily accessible from major airports (Salzburg 2h, Klagenfurt 1h), it is the perfect long-weekend destination across seasons.
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